Here's how Minnesota's representatives voted on the 274-157 roll call Thursday by which the House failed to override President Clinton's veto of a bill repealing estate taxes.
A "yes" vote is a vote to override.
X denotes those not voting.
Republicans -- Gutknecht, Y; Ramstad, Y.
Democrats -- Luther, N; Minge, N; Oberstar, N; Peterson, Y; Sabo, N; Vento, X.
By CURT ANDERSON
AP Tax Writer
WASHINGTON -- President Clinton's offer to provide limited relief from the estate tax is not swaying Republicans who failed to override his veto of a bill to abolish the tax.
"They had their chance. The American people wanted repeal," said House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "Playing around with it so the Democrats can keep more money in Washington -- we're not interested."
By a 274-157 vote Thursday, the House fell 14 votes short of the necessary two-thirds margin to override the veto with 431 members voting.
Fifty-three Democrats voted with all but one Republican for the override, compared with 65 Democrats who supported the legislation in June when it passed 279-136. Thirteen Democrats switched their votes.
Clinton praised the vote and said the 10-year, $105 billion repeal bill was "a huge tax cut for the most well-off Americans" that threatened the nation's economic health and critical government programs.
"If the congressional leadership is serious about estate tax relief for small businesses, family farms, and principal residences of middle-class families that have increased in value, they should work with me in a fiscally responsible manner as Democrats in Congress have proposed," Clinton said.
Some lawmakers said they would try to resurrect less costly proposals that would immediately increase inheritance tax exemptions, including the $675,000 individual exemption, to reduce its impact on middle-class people, farmers and small businesses.
"Maybe we can sit down and reach consensus on some legislation that would be acceptable," said Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn.
But GOP sponsors said they would settle for nothing less than full repeal.
"There is only one way to rid the code of this immoral, unfair and economically unsound tax, and that's to eliminate it," said Rep. Jennifer Dunn, R-Wash.
Even though a clear House majority favored repeal and polls show many Americans believe the tax is inherently unfair, Democrats said just as many people want Congress to focus on paying down public debt, improving education and creating a Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Democrats also portrayed the bill as a giveaway to wealthy families -- only about 2 percent of estates owe the tax each year -- and only one part of a huge GOP tax cut that would consume too much of the projected budget surplus.
"Never have so many spent so much time to give so much money to so very few," said House Minority Whip David Bonior, D-Mich.
Republicans countered that the veto by Clinton, and by extension Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore, was another signal that Democrats want to spend the surplus on more federal government programs instead of returning a portion to taxpayers. Republican nominee George W. Bush favors repealing the estate tax.
"I say to the president: This veto does not mean that money is now available for Washington spending," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. "We will not use it to expand government."
Sponsors also took issue with the Democratic characterization of the estate tax as primarily benefitting the rich, contending that it forces millions of middle-class people to spend thousands of dollars on insurance and estate planning and threatens jobs of people when businesses and farms are broken up to pay the tax.
"The death tax has given purgatory a new meaning," said Rep. Bill Archer, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. "Death as an event should not trigger a tax."
Clinton and Gore both called wavering Democrats to shore up support for the veto, House aides said.
These Democrats voted for repeal in June but opted to sustain the president's veto and kill the bill this time: California's Joe Baca, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Tom Lantos, and Zoe Lofgren; Colorado's Mark Udall; Florida's Allen Boyd and Peter Deutsch; Maryland's Albert Wynn; New Jersey's William Pascrell; New York's Mike McNulty and Nydia Velazquez, and Virginia's Jim Moran.
The bill is H.R. 8.
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